When it comes to weight loss, there’s no shortage of advice available. Every magazine, newspaper and website crams in as much as they can about how to keep New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and the latest and greatest miracle diets and cures available today.
But for those who are serious about losing some weight this year, how do you know which diet is for you? With so much conflicting advice – eat carbs, don’t eat carbs, sugar is fabulous, sugar is evil, caveman diets are the go, French women don’t get fat – and so many options it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
There’s no single weight loss diet that will help everyone who tries it. Before starting a weight loss program, think about:
Your experience with past diets.
What did you like or dislike about them? Were you able to follow the diet? What worked or didn’t work for you?
Do you prefer to diet on your own, or do you like getting support from a group?
Some weight-loss programs require you to buy supplements or meals, or to attend support meetings. Does the cost of such programs fit your budget?
Do you have a health condition, such as diabetes, heart disease or allergies? Do you have specific cultural or ethnic requirements or preferences when it comes to food?
Successful weight loss requires a long-term commitment to making healthy changes in your eating and exercise habits. Be sure to pick an eating plan you can live with. Look for a plan with these features:
- Flexible and balanced. Look for a plan that doesn’t forbid certain foods or food groups but instead includes a variety of foods from all the major food groups.
- Enjoyable. A diet should include foods you like and that you would enjoy eating for the rest of your life — not just for several weeks or months.
- Exercise. Every weight loss program should include physical activity. Exercise is the most important factor in maintaining weight loss.
Depending on your goals you may want to talk to your doctor. He or she can review any medical problems that you have and any medications that you take, and help you set weight-loss goals.
Check if your health insurance includes re-imbursements for gym memberships, weight loss programs, gym gear and pilates or yoga classes run by health professionals such as physiotherapists.
Popular options for weight loss:
- Programs such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, 12WBT Michelle Bridges, the Biggest loser (book program)
Many people find great success with programs as the support via social media and peers helps them keep to their goals and get back on the horse after a blow out.
Although some are expensive to join, you could always recreate the vibe with a bunch of committed pals with similar goals and without any cost.
- Supplement programs – Bodytrim, Plexus Slim, Slimfast
The Dietitians Association of Australia surveyed 200 members who are Australian nutritionists this month about the best and worst of fad diets. They have voted lemon detox, the two-week water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup fad as the worst diet for the third year in a row. The SkinnyMe tea and the Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge came in as a close second and third for the worst available.
The five best overall plans, according to these experts, are the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Change), Mayo Clinic, Weight Watchers and Mediterranean diets.
Weight Watchers was the only Top 5 plan that you pay for. The other four top diets don’t even have weight loss as a primary goal, but manage to achieve it anyway.
The bottom of the dieting barrel also included the Atkins, the Dukan and the “caveman” Paleo diet.
We’d love to hear what has worked best for you! What diet did you find achieved great results and long term benefits?
Krissy Hacker is a wife and SAHM of 2, expecting a 3rd whose arrival is eagerly awaited so she can return to drinking wine and pretending to be on a diet all the time again.